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Comelec urges gun owners to secure exemption

By Paulo DS. Papa

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Bicol advised gun owners to apply for gun ban exemption in case of there are threats to their life during election period.

Lawyer Rafael Olaño, Comelec Bicol regional director, said that all persons, except those authorized by the poll body, are prohibited to carry firearms during the period of election gun ban. He said all permits to carry firearms are suspended.

Olaño said that gun owners who have threats against their lives may apply with the Comelec for exemption from the gun ban.

In Naga City, lawyer Maico Julia Jr, Comelec Naga chief, cited Comelec Resolution No. 10728 prohibiting persons, except for uniformed personnel, to bare firearms outside of their residences during the election gun ban unless allowed by the Comelec through a written permission.

He advised persons who wants to carry firearms to apply for certificate of authority from the Comelec. He said, anyone who brings firearms without the said certificate will be arrested.

Julia said that a registered voter who violated the gun ban may be deprived of his/her right of suffrage depending on the court’s decision.

Based from the same resolution, any person found guilty of the election offense may suffer imprisonment not less than a year and not more than six years. Candidates who violated the gun ban will serve the same prison time in addition to deprivation of right to vote and disqualification from holding any government positions.

Meanwhile, Army MGen. Alex Luna, 9th Infantry Division commander, assured that military personnel manning checkpoints will remain courteous and respect the constitutional rights of individuals passing thru the Comelec checkpoints.

Luna said soldiers who commits violation will be subjected to investigation and will face administrative and criminal cases if warranted.

To be very courteous to our motorists is our very first rule in conducting checkpoints. All we have to do is to inform them about the checkpoint and the consequences they may face once they carry firearms. We do this to make sure they are compliant with the election gun ban, Luna said.

Col. Bernardo Perez, Camarines Sur police chief, said police personnel who are not wearing their uniform are not authorized to carry or display their service firearms.

Meanwhile, Olaño urged motorists to report to the Comelec any form of violations committed by military and police personnel who are manning checkpoints.

The Election gun ban started on Jan. 9 and will end on June 8 this year.

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